On a picturesque corner along the brand-new brick sidewalks of Lane Parke in Mountain Brook Village, Local Taco’s inviting outdoor patio and warm lights draw you in. The warm industrial space boasts an eclectic mix of reclaimed wood, exposed bulbs, gleaming white subway tiles and images of Birmingham through the lens of local photographers and artists. It’s clean, unfussy and definitely unpretentious — the perfect spot to refuel with friends or family.
But the thing that truly sets Local Taco apart: “Our commitment to quality of product at an affordable price,” says Local Taco General Manager Brian Vizzina. “The concept is ‘from scratch’ Tex-Mex, so we source as much as we can locally. We also make our tortillas in-house, which is not common.” Brian explains that they make everything fresh daily, from the tortillas and the guacamole to the savory sides and the array of creative sauces — roja salsa, chipotle BBQ, “Blanco Bama,” chimichurri, poblano cream, arbol salsa, verde salsa, avocado sauce, cilantro ranch, mango vinaigrette and honey-lime dressing, among others. “Our menu is constantly evolving,” he says. “Some of our best sellers from our Nashville locations may soon join the Birmingham menu.”
Local Taco began in Nashville’s Sylvan Park neighborhood, and the Music City locations’ hands-down best-selling taco, which is also a Birmingham favorite, is the Nashville hot chicken taco — fried chicken dipped in house hot sauce, topped with poblano cream, cilantro, cole slaw and diced Alabama-made Wickles Pickles. The spicy-hot, crispy chicken with crunchy cole slaw, creamy sauce and the sweet-hot finish of those delicious pickles in a warm, freshly made tortilla make it a home run.
Coming in at a close second is the spicy Baja shrimp taco, which includes hand-battered fried shrimp, pickled onion, cole slaw, pico de gallo and boom boom sauce. And there are more creative, mouthwatering taco flavors — including adobo-marinated pork, jerk chicken, beer-braised brisket, house-marinated skirt steak, veggie, blackened or fried grouper, buttermilk fried chicken and smoked chicken. Their staple proteins and veggies can be savored in a fajita bowl, “Local Bowl,” “Little Bowl” for the kiddos, quesadilla or salad. And you’d be remiss not to indulge in their smoky jalapeño queso or fresh guacamole, as well as their decadent sides, such as the devilishly good Mexi-tater tots or authentic street-style Mexican corn.
Adults can enjoy craft cocktails of the authentic Latin variety, such as the house-made sangria or the Local Margarita, frozen or on the rocks, in classic lime, peach, mango, strawberry, raspberry or spicy jalapeño. Then there’s the more creative Alabama Cosmo with Absolut Citron, fresh-squeezed lime juice, cranberry and blood orange, or try the straightforward Skinny Mocking J, with silver tequila, organic agave nectar and fresh-squeezed lime juice for a refreshing pick-me-up … or wind-me-down.
When Brian isn’t talking up the freshness of the food, he’s quick to point out the eatery’s local art, all highlighting different images of the Magic City. Photography of the colorful Light Rails downtown, vintage prints, oversized maps and multimedia art, including collaborative works by Joseph Longoria and Ginnard Archibald, pepper the walls as a nod to a city that Local Taco is proud to be a part of. “We have been wanting to open a location in the Birmingham area for a while now and were excited that such a picturesque spot opened in Mountain Brook. We feel very connected to the surrounding area,” says Brian. Each Local Taco location gives back to local schools, sports teams and nonprofit organizations as a way to contribute to thriving communities. “All of our locations are active in numerous charities and special events. Giving back to the community is one of our operating principles.”
Brian says that catering, especially for weddings, is one of their most requested services, and while there is no private room for parties or special events, he’s open to the possibilities, including live music on the patio. “It’s always a possibility in the future,” he says. So cross your fingers for sun-drenched afternoons on the Local Taco patio, margarita in hand and live music in your ears. Until then, the gentle babble of conversation with beloved friends and laughter with family members will tickle your eardrums at this friendly neighborhood taco joint, as they serve up supremely fresh Tex-Mex fare and sinfully scrumptious cocktails that will tantalize your taste buds and please your purse!
Local Taco is located at 920 Lane Parke Court in Lane Parke in Mountain Brook, AL 35223. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. To book a catering event or to learn more, call (205) 900-8672 or visit localtaco.com.
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